Spearfishing Regulation Benefits Artisanal Fisheries: The ReGS Indicator and Its Application to a Multiple-Use Mediterranean Marine Protected Area

Type Article
Date 2011-09
Language English
Author(s) Rocklin Delphine1, 2, Tomasini Jean-Antoine1, Culioli Jean-Michel3, Pelletier DominiqueORCID2, Mouillot David1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Montpellier 2, Lab Ecol Syst Marins Cotiers, UMR CNRS IRD IFREMER UM2 5119, Montpellier, France.
2 : IFREMER, Lab Biol Halieut, Dept Sci & Technol Halieut, Plouzane, France.
3 : Off Environm Corse, Corte, France.
Source Plos One (1932-6203) (Public Library Science), 2011-09 , Vol. 6 , N. 9 , P. 11 pp.
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0023820
WOS© Times Cited 15
Abstract The development of fishing efficiency coupled with an increase of fishing effort led to the overexploitation of numerous natural marine resources. In addition to this commercial pressure, the impact of recreational activities on fish assemblages remains barely known. Here we examined the impact of spearfishing limitation on resources in a marine protected area (MPA) and the benefit it provides for the local artisanal fishery through the use of a novel indicator. We analysed trends in the fish assemblage composition using artisanal fisheries data collected in the Bonifacio Strait Natural Reserve (BSNR), a Mediterranean MPA where the spearfishing activity has been forbidden over 15% of its area. Fish species were pooled into three response groups according to their target level by spearfishing. We developed the new flexible ReGS indicator reflecting shifts in species assemblages according to the relative abundance of each response group facing external pressure. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) increased by ca. 60% in the BSNR between 2000 and 2007, while the MPA was established in 1999. The gain of CPUE strongly depended on the considered response group: for the highly targeted group, the CPUE doubled while the CPUE of the untargeted group increased by only 15.5%. The ReGS value significantly increased from 0.31 to 0.45 (on a scale between 0 and 1) in the general perimeter of this MPA while it has reached a threshold of 0.43, considered as a reference point, in the area protected from spearfishing since 1982. Our results demonstrated that limiting recreational fishing by appropriate zoning in multiple-use MPAs represents a real benefit for artisanal fisheries. More generally we showed how our new indicator may reveal a wide range of impacts on coastal ecosystems such as global change or habitat degradation.
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